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The Chinese Civil War


Admission requirements

Successful completion of BA1 Modern Chinese History.


The Chinese Civil War started in early March 1946 after full fledged fighting between Nationalist and Communist troops erupted in Manchuria. This conflict, which has its origins in the violent end of their alliance in 1927, spread to other parts of the country. Fighting eventually abated in 1949 as the Nationalists retreated to Taiwan and the Chinese Communist Party declared the founding of the People’s Republic of China. Recent developments remind us that this conflict remains unresolved. In this course,
we will cover political, military, and international dimensions of this conflict. We will also explore social, economic, and environmental impact of this conflict by examining individual experiences of war correspondents, urban workers, and displaced persons.

Course objectives

· Identify causes of the Chinese Civil War.

· Assess secondary literature on the Chinese Civil War.

· Design a research paper on a specific aspect of the Chinese Civil War.

· Formulate evidence-based arguments in academic English.


The timetables are avalable through My Timetable.

Mode of instruction


Assessment method

Oral presentation = 10% Research paper (4000 words) = 90% The final grade consists of the weighted average of all course components. A resit for the final exam is allowed if a student scores a non-passing grade (5,49 or lower) on the first attempt.

Reading list

  • Lary, Diana. China's Civil War. West Nyack: Cambridge University Press, 2015.

  • Muscolino, Micah S. The Ecology of War in China: Henan Province, the Yellow River, and Beyond, 1938-Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2015.

  • Pepper, Suzanne. Civil War in China: the Political Struggle 1945-1949. 2nd ed. Lanham, Md. [etc.]: Rowman & Littlefield, 1999.

  • Tanner, Harold M. The Battle for Manchuria and the Fate of China: Siping, 1946. Bloomington, IN: Indiana University Press, 2013.

  • Westad, Odd Arne. Decisive Encounters: the Chinese Civil War, 1946-1950. Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press, 2003.

  • Yang, Dominic Meng-Hsuan. The Great Exodus from China: Trauma, Memory, and Identity in Modern Taiwan. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2021.

Additional readings to be announced on Brightspace.


Enrolment through [My Studymap] ( is mandatory.


  • For substantive questions, contact the lecturer listed in the right information bar.

  • For questions about enrolment, admission, etc, contact the Education Administration Office: Vrieshof